Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa join Mercedes

2011 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Mercedes has confirmed Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa will join its technical team this year.

Willis, who joins Mercedes from HRT, will adopt the role of technology director from October 17th. He previously worked for the Brackley team when it was BAR and Honda from 2001 to 2006.

Former Ferrari employee Costa will begin his role as engineering director on December 1st. He had been with Ferrari since 1996 during which time he spent many years working with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn.

Both will report to technical director Bob Bell.

Brawn said: “Geoff is a highly respected engineer with over twenty years of Formula 1 experience, and we look forward to his arrival next month.

“Having worked closely with Aldo for many years, I know that he will bring dedication and championship-winning expertise to the team when he joins in December.

“Building a winning team is an exciting challenge for us all as we work towards the competitiveness and standards that we aspire to as the Mercedes-Benz works team. With a strong technical structure led by Bob Bell, we are moving ourselves into the best possible position to achieve our ambitions.”

2011 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa join Mercedes”

  1. Sounds like a good news for Mercedes team, as well as for us, the fans, that would love to see more competitors in the title chase.

    1. You and me both, this is really great news!

      1. Wow, I love this news! Great battle in the front with Schumi’s Merc. nice, nice 2012..

    2. Aldo Costa still drew cars which are better than the current Mercedes, so a step forward is a must.

      1. I agree this is indeed good news.

  2. Can you write an article describing engineering director, technical director, sporting director etc… too many directors in F1..uuuhhh!!

    Wills & Bob bell role names are similar.. why two technical directors??

    1. I was going to ask the same, what are these roles technical director and engineering director?

    2. That’s a great idea actually. I know a lot of us here know but it would be helpful to a lot as there’s a fair amount of a articles about Mr.X joined this team doing this, Mr.Y joined this team doing that…

    3. Willis […] will adopt the role of technology director
      Costa will begin his role as engineering director
      technical director Bob Bell

      Perhaps technology director and thechnical director are two different things? Either way, I agree that we need clarification. Off to the forums then…

    4. From what JA writes about it, it will be Willis in charge of the aero team (he “built” the windtunnel in Brackley, after all) and Costa getting the car together with Bell on top to set priorities and manage the whole thing.

  3. I wonder if Geoff Willis will be doing the same thing he did during his time at RBR – ensuring the quality of the workmanship.

    Over on a technical forum I frequent they have pointed out how poorly fitted together the Mercedes cars seem to be compared to their rivals (granted this is just poor by F1 standards, they’d still rival Lexus in the “real world”!!)

    Guess this also explains why Willis left HRT as well.

    Worth noting as well that some of BAR & Honda’s best years (2004 and 2006) were during Geoff’s time at the team.

    1. Guess this also explains why Willis left HRT as well.

      According to Autosport, Willis left because he wanted guarantees about future investment that HRT couldn’t/wouldn’t give.

      1. It’s a shame for Hispania, losing someone with Willis’ expertise.

  4. Wow! Good news for Mercedes, Willis is truly an expert. He proved himself in BAR Honda back in 2004, so I think Mercedes might storm the podiums in 2012 if he’s with them.

  5. I wish nothing but the very best of luck to Aldo. I loved it when he was at Ferrari even if they’ve had a few bumpy years now. He always seemed to be a fan of Ferrari and a really nice guy in the interviews and speaking as a fan of Ferrari I was sorry that they let him go.

    1. I thoroughly agree, he seemed to really work hard for the best interests of the team.

  6. few people seem to appreciate how severely brawn GP had to be pruned in order to stay in business after the honda withdrawl

    even with this move mercedes GP will still lack resources
    compared to the biggest teams , I was beginning to wonder if daimler benz were serious about their F1 strategy , but it looks clear that they were just waiting for the right people to become available ; so ross brawn has just been playing the long game !

    bob bell , aldo costa , geoff willis …not bad so far …more to come when the right people are available

  7. Mercedes are really building a strong team, Hopefully it will pay off for them. However, if it doesn’t it will look bad for all concerned.

    Now all they need is Newey.

    1. I’d love Mercedes to be up there! But unfortunately, I see it unlikely. However, with Schuey’s driving at the moment, who knows?

    2. No, they don’t need Adrian, they know his tricks now, you’ll see…

  8. Slightly off topic but I’ve read in a few places that Rory Byrne is rumored to be returning next year with Ferrari to design the 2012 car alongside Pat Fry. Don’t know if I should believe it…

    1. it’s true that Rory Byrne was in the ferrari box at monza & was talking with Domenicali & Alonso but there is no official explanation by the scuderia about his role it’s rumored that they need him for some part of the development of the f70 the ferrari replacement of the enzo f70 will mark the return of the turbo in ferrari street cars

    2. He’s a consultant to Ferrari (and for the FIA at the same time), a while ago Ferrari officially told the world he was working on a secret supercar project for them, not on F1.

      1. I’d love Rory back. The man is a genius but I just don’t see it happening like most F1 rumours :P

        1. Ahhh, I figured as much. Rumours are just that…

          Ah well, it was a nice boost of hope while it lasted. :D

  9. as a ferrari fan i hope aldo costa in mercedes will made the same damage he did in ferrari

    1. I don’t think Aldo ever had Rory’s natural talent but he seemed like a good guy, trained under the genius so must have have some good smarts and gave the team some very loyal service. One man isn’t responsible for a team failing to win the title in a few years (well, unless it’s the big boss :P) .

      1. it’s true that one man isn’t responsible for team failing to win title in a few years but under under his management(technically) the team was not even able to challenge for titles (f2009-f150 italia)& lost a title (2010) that before that stupid pit stop strategy seems in hand

    2. Poor deluded Tifoso, Ferrari have always been their own worst enemy,with infighting, empire building and scapegoating being the norm, that’s why they paid record salaries to Schui and Brawn to bring in the right people and build a winning team, after years of failure. When they lost Brawn they went back to their old ways, Alonso can’t do it on his own, it takes a TEAM.

    3. – Bad joke – alert
      If so, why put him inside Mercedes, when going to Red Bull would have helped Ferrari far more?

    4. Hopefully, Mercedes will win 5 races next year and lead the title going into the final race.

  10. Lovely news! Now they have no excuse not to be winning races in the future.

    In all seriousness though, Ferrari, McLaren and RBR should take note of this.

  11. Great news for Mercedes team, as I can see Brawn is building a very solid team. Finally, Mercedes has understood that it is imposible to create a winning car without more investment.

    Now I only hope that the team can built a competitive car for Schumi, he deserves to win races again!(also Nico of course).

  12. By the way, Rory is tood old to travel through so many countries. He has heart problems and perhaps he can only give some ideas for the new car. Its time to find another genious.

  13. It always seems to be X from team-Y that gets the top job at team-Z. Do the lower rank & file move about as much?

    Anyone know the last time a team promoted someone from within to the top Job?

  14. It was a mistake to get rid of Costa – a knee-jerk reaction to a short-term problem without consulting any other ideas for a solution. The same thing happened with Chris Dyer.

    Ferrari’s loss is Mercedes’ gain.

    1. Since none of us are Ferrari management we don’t know that. We don’t know when they first talked about changing something in their lineup. Probably he was even informed for quite a while. In a good company peoples work gets evaluated so they can improve and obviously they will be informed that, if it does not improve, they might have to mutually agree that its a good idea to change things up and give eachother the chance to get new experiences and grow .. seperately.

      However, if they just fired him for lack of better ideas that would be a poor performance by Ferrari, even worse than the ’09 car.

      I always liked Aldo and I hope he will do fine. (if next years merc performs as well as this years ferrari that would be a leap forward already :-P)

  15. Should be very interesting…would love to see how NR does in a more competitive car if they can make one vs. the competition…doubt they’ll take a step backwards vs. the competition unless the competition comes out with some gems, so it should be fun.

    One question I have is I wonder if particularly the Dec. 1 start date for Costa as engineering director is a date a little past what they would have liked in terms of the development of the 2012 car. Anyone know at what stage the team(s) cars are at, or will be by Dec 1? ie. will these guys have missed the boat a little in terms of influencing the core thinking on the 2012 effort? Or perhaps the timing is fine.

    1. No idea about what stage they are at the moment though Ross indicated in Hungary / Belgium that they are already started thinking about the 2012 project.

      You are right about the timing of the engagement for Costa.. it looks a little late. But, the advantage every team has next year -> no rules changes in 2012. So, this negates the timing of his joining… (I guess)

      I’m sure they would have given Costa the copies of all technical specifications for him to go through….. 2012 car will certainly be an evolution of the 2011 car. I understand only McLaren comes up with radical bold decisions, which deserves a huge credit

      1. I dont think so Icemangrins. The new car will be completely different due the the lack of downforce and excessive tyre degradation that the WO2 suffers from. The new car will have a longer wheelbase in order to change the distribution and the type of suspension, as far I know.

  16. Ross Brawn is well known for his leadership ability back in the Ferrari days. It is going to be interesting to see how he is going to manage these great minds (Geof, Bob, Aldo Costa); make sure they don’t step on each other’s foot; work in harmony to create the synergy & take the team forward. The expectation is even higher in 2012….

    It must have been a huge of investments to bring these guys on board. Won’t they cost a fortune and impact the budget cap? How does this affect the RRA?

    The Mercedes shareholders @ Stuttgart will already be exepcting dividends. It will come back and bite them in their back if they fail 3 years in a row as well. On a face value, this is a great news and a great boost for Mercedes GP. In 2012, they will have a stronger work force coupled with famous personalities compared to any other team in the grid. Now, all they need is Eddie Jordan as their Marketing Director

  17. Keith I would like to have a list from 2012 where you will put just the name of the people from different team who are responsible for different key jobs in each teams.
    Like for example.
    Name of race engineer of both drivers,technical director,engineering director & many others key members.I know it may be tough but I guess we fanatic may help you out a bit.

    1. Interesting idea – thanks for the suggestion!

      1. My pleasure.

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